Shape the Future of Publishing with Kickstarter’s First-Ever Digital Conference

On May 11, join a daylong conversation about fostering a more inclusive, fair, and vibrant publishing landscape

The world of publishing has changed dramatically in the last decade. Amazon has become a dominant channel for book sales (and almost everything else). Viral tweets can lead to bestsellers. Local journalism outlets like Gothamist have shuttered—and been reborn. Writers are struggling more now than ever before. But in other ways, it hasn’t: Publishing still isn’t representative of the world we live in, which leaves important stories untold.

And yet, passionate independent writers and publishers have developed innovative ways to connect with audiences and create economic opportunities in an uncertain time. While the conversation about the future of writers and publishers is a complicated one, it’s one I’m hopeful about nonetheless.

On May 11, 2019, I invite you to join this conversation with The Next Page: Creating the Future of Publishing, a digital conference hosted by Kickstarter. From 9 am to 5 pm ET, we’ll host discussions with some of the leading thinkers in the current magazine, book, web, and comic publishing landscape from the Kickstarter community and beyond.

Together, we’ll contemplate the big questions—around topics like the intersection of publishing and tech, how to bring about a dramatically more diverse publishing industry, creating economic sustainability, and cultivating strong communities—and begin to consider what the next decade of publishing could look like. I’m hopeful that these conversations will help us begin to build a more inclusive, fair, and vibrant publishing landscape.

Register to attend for free and preview the conference agenda.

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New Beginnings

To the Kickstarter team, creators, backers, and friends: 

I’ve decided to step away from the CEO position at Kickstarter to focus on high-level and long-term company needs in my role as chairman of the board. 

We’re just about a month shy of Kickstarter’s 10th birthday. Ten years ago, I took a leap with Yancey and Charles to create a platform with a simple mission: bring people together to help bring creative projects to life. And in doing so, Kickstarter came to life in ways I never could have imagined. In just ten years, we have accomplished so much together, with over $4.2 billion pledged to projects and nearly 160,000 projects from all over the world being successfully funded. 

When I returned as CEO in 2017, I initially intended to spend about six months working to set up a long-term foundation to ensure Kickstarter remained aligned with its mission, and to set the next leader up for success. Those months quickly became two years dedicated to developing a better way to deliver on the core aspects of our service through a robust operating system, a strong product, and the team we have assembled at Kickstarter today. 

I feel confident in what we’ve been able to accomplish, and even more confident in the next generation of leaders. And as a part of this decision, I’m happy to announce that Aziz Hasan, the head of Kickstarter’s Design & Product teams, will be stepping into the role of running day-to-day operations as interim CEO—with the Kickstarter PBC board working with Aziz over the next weeks and months to make this role permanent. 

Aziz is an experienced leader who joined the Kickstarter team early last year. He is deeply committed to the work, mission, and staff, and I cannot imagine Kickstarter in better hands. 

It’s been a true honor to serve as CEO for the first five years of this company and again for the last two. As we’ve been saying around here ahead of our milestone birthday, 10 is just the beginning. And I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years of Kickstarter will bring.

Kickstarter Music Promises to Keep It Weird at SXSW

Your favorite weirdos, Meredith & Russell
Your favorite weirdos, Meredith & Russell

Like everybody else who loves music and…[squints at list]...huge untamed crowds and walking through piles of unsorted recycling, we’re off to SXSW Music!

For the next week, my cohort Russell Elliot (of Kickstarter’s People Team, but also a brilliantly successful Kickstarter Music creator and oh my god have you heard this song??) and yours truly will be kicking dust all over South Congress, sneaking into your shows, eating all the tacos, trying on all the most psychedelic vintage, getting selfies with our heroes, and most importantly—

—seeing you, your band, your friends’ bands, and your friends’ band’s bands, and talking to you about music.

We wanna have all of the good, bad, inevitably weird ‘I didn’t think people were supposed to talk about that’ kinds of conversations, whether it’s gender disparity in festival lineups, adding morality clauses to label contracts, how to book shows if your town doesn’t have any shows, what the scene is like (or what you want it to be like) where you’re from, being the queer weirdo outlier in a macho genre, being a better ally in this industry, conquering stage fright and performance anxiety, and, of course, how to run a successful Kickstarter Music campaign.

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Meet the Spring 2019 Kickstarter Creators-in-Residence

Still from Nicholas O’brien’s Drip intro video
Still from Nicholas O’brien’s Drip intro video

Earlier this year, we announced an open call for the fourth edition of our Creators-in-Residence program. We received hundreds of applications from amazing, independent creative people, and today we’re thrilled to announce our eleven residents for the spring 2019 season.

From March through May, these residents will make use of the space and resources at Kickstarter’s Brooklyn HQ to plan, launch, and fulfill campaigns across categories. Learn a bit more about them below, and stay tuned for their projects.

Join us in welcoming eleven talented creators into our Brooklyn HQ for the next three months

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Explore 12 Projects from Emerging Mexican Filmmakers Premiering at the Guanajuato International Film Festival

Versión en español a continuación.

Kickstarter is once again teaming up with the Guanajuato International Film Festival to support emerging Mexican filmmakers through workshops, training, and Kickstarter campaigns.

Photo courtesy of GIFF
Photo courtesy of GIFF

For the third year in a row, Kickstarter is teaming up with the Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF) to support emerging Mexican filmmakers. Twelve teams of students from all across Mexico, selected by GIFF, have launched Kickstarter projects to fund the production of short narrative and documentary films which will premiere at the festival in July.

GIFF is the only film festival in Mexico to offer an educational program for students. Each year, students from universities across the country are chosen to take part in workshops and training to help bring their film projects to life.

The program is divided into two initiatives: Rally Universitario (University Rally), which challenges students to produce a narrative short in just 48 hours, and Identidad y Pertenencia (Identity and Belonging), which features six short documentaries that explore the regional identity and contemporary challenges of life in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Keep reading to learn more about the 12 projects that will premiere at the 22nd annual Guanajuato International Film Festival. You can support them all on Kickstarter now.

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16 Kickstarter-Funded Films Are Headed to the 2019 SXSW Film Festival

Films include Boy Howdy! The Story of Creem Magazine, Strange Negotiations: The David Bazan Documentary, and festival favorite Knock Down the House.

Another amazing lineup of Kickstarter creators will bring their documentaries, narrative features, and shorts to Austin, TX, for the SXSW Film Festival (March 8–16, 2019).

“The SXSW Film Festival is known for welcoming fiercely independent, smart, fun, and often irreverent filmmaking. It's no surprise that Kickstarter creators often make up a significant portion of the festival's lineup,” says Kickstarter Film’s Liz Cook Mowe.

Kickstarter’s Film team will also be at SXSW this March cheering on Kickstarter-funded filmmakers at their films’ world premieres (Follow @Kickstarter on Instagram for live updates), enjoying too many breakfast tacos, and meeting with filmmakers interested in running campaigns. 

Will you be at SXSW too? Get in touch with our Film team at film@kickstarter.com.

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Meet Kickstarter’s 2019 Thought Leaders

Kickstarter's 2019 Thought Leaders
Kickstarter's 2019 Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders are an international group of Kickstarter creators who are celebrated as leaders in their fields.

In 2017, Kickstarter introduced our first Thought Leaders, an international group of Kickstarter creators and advocates selected for their wisdom, experience, and contributions to the creative community.

Since then, Thought Leaders have teamed up with their communities to lead events and launch groundbreaking projects. Here are just a few of the things they accomplished:

We're proud to welcome 13 new creators to the Thought Leaders program in 2019:

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Exquisite Objects: Discover Rare and Beautiful Books on Kickstarter

A Kickstarter-funded facsimile of Fortunato Depero’s Bolted Book. Photo by Lauren Renner.
A Kickstarter-funded facsimile of Fortunato Depero’s Bolted Book. Photo by Lauren Renner.

Throughout the month of February, Kickstarter will celebrate Exquisite Objects, a collection of artful publishing and design projects created to delight the senses. Here, Kickstarter’s Director of Publishing Margot Atwell shares a bit more about the initiative.

Spending an afternoon in a rare or secondhand bookshop is one of my favorite things to do. Trailing my finger along the spines of gorgeous leather-bound gold-embossed hardcover books; sliding a book out of its protective slipcase and thumbing the deckled edges. Beautifully published books create new entry points into classic works and encourage new ways of experiencing old stories. They can also signify that a text is worthy of a reader’s time and attention.

This month, we’ve invited a few of our favorite creators to dream big and make something truly stunning and out of the ordinary. We call these works “Exquisite Objects” because the care put into their creation far surpasses the common paperback—these works incorporate an attention to detail worthy of a museum display. To borrow a phrase from Josh O'Neill of Beehive Books, these books are "refined, gorgeous, and elegant, but still somehow kind of punk rock."

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